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Sonoma County Gazette
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Sonoma County Cannabis Penalty Relief Program Extended

Sep 14, 2017


The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution on September 12, 2017, to modify and extend theTemporary Code Enforcement Penalty Relief Program for Cannabis businesses. This extension allows existing cannabis businesses to remain operational and avoid land use fines while providing additional time to meet the standards required to successfully obtain a local commercial cannabis cultivation permit.

“The extension of the Penalty Relief Program was approved by the Board in order to enhance compliance with the County’s Cannabis Program, and draw a bright line between those that want to join the regulated market, and those that do not,” explained Sonoma County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Shirlee Zane.

“Cannabis businesses that do not submit apenalty relief application form by October 31st will face code enforcement and stiff penalties.”

The deadline for submitting an application and qualifying for the Penalty Relief Program has been extended from August 31, 2017 to June 1, 2018.

However, in order to obtain penalty relief, eligible cannabis businesses are required to submit the one-page penalty relief application form by October 31, 2017. The extension of the Penalty Relief Program does not include an extension for operators on non-permit eligible parcels such as Agriculture and Residential District (AR) and Rural Residential District (RR) zoned properties. Cannabis businesses on these properties must cease all operations by January 1, 2018.

Supervisors Susan Gorin and Lynda Hopkins, who serve on the Board’s Cannabis Ad Hoc Committee, recommended the extension to the full Board of Supervisors.

“Extending the Penalty Relief Program provides the cannabis industry with a substantial incentive to come into the regulated market,” commented Supervisor Gorin. “We received significant feedback from the Cannabis Advisory Group as well as individuals that this extension is critical to the success of the Sonoma County Cannabis Program.”

“We believe there are a significant number of cannabis farmers who want to be compliant, but haven’t been able to meet our strict permit requirements under existing timelines,” added Supervisor Hopkins. “This extension will provide those who were unable to submit a permit by the original deadline another opportunity to join the regulated market, increasing the number of lawful operations in the County.”

Information on the Cannabis Program may be found by visiting the project website: For more information, please contact Sonoma County Cannabis Program Manager Tim Ricard, by phone at 707-565-7257 or email at

Cannabis Advisory Group Meetings

Permit and Resource Management Department

September 27, 2017 from 3:00  5:00 PM

October 25, 2017 from 3:00  5:00 PM

December 27, 2017 from 3:00  5:00 PM

The Cannabis Advisory Group is an advisory body formed by the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors.

Open Meetings: Except as expressly authorized under the Ralph M. Brown Act (the State’s local agency open meeting law), all meetings of the EDB are open to attendance by interested members of the public.

Public Comments: The Chair will invite public comment for agenda items as they are taken up by the Board. If you wish to speak, you may do so upon receiving recognition by the Chair. Please state your name and limit your comments to the agenda item under discussion. Speakers are limited to three minutes each; available time for comments is determined by the Board Chair based on agenda scheduling demand and total number of speakers.

Public Appearances: Any member of the public may address the Board on a matter not listed on the agenda as long as the subject matter is within the jurisdiction of the Board. If you wish to speak, you may do so upon recognition by the Board Chair. While members of the public are welcome to address the Board, under the Brown Act open meeting laws, Board members may not deliberate or take action on items not on the agenda. Speakers are limited to three minutes each, six minutes for a member of the public attending with a translator; available time for comments is determined by the Board Chair based on agenda scheduling demands and total number of speakers.

Disabled Accommodation: If you have a disability and require a sign language interpreter, assistive listening device, material in an alternate format, or other accommodation to attend, please contact Ms. Jo Ann Barker at (707) 565-1925 at least 72 hours prior to the meeting in order to facilitate arrangements for accommodation.


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